McDonald’s and In-School Marketing: The Clown Speaks From Both Sides of His Mouth

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The McDonald’s corporation has lately fallen on hard times, enduring seven straight months of declining domestic sales, a food safety scandal involving its Chinese meat supplier, politically motivated restaurant closures in Russia, even a Consumer Reports survey ranking its burgers as the “worst in America.” So on a December 10th conference call, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson and… Read More

Dinner and Climate Change: Global Poll Shows Eaters Connecting the Dots

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In 2010, when I was on tour promoting my book Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It, I felt lonely. Not because no one was showing up for my book talks, they were. And not because I was alone; with my nine-month-old daughter in tow, I was never by myself. I felt lonely because, back then, there were very few of us talking about the connections between food and climate change, despite the fact that the global food system—from field to plate to landfill—is responsible for as much as one third of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

In just a few years that has changed. Somewhat. Read More

Oregon’s GMO Labeling Initiative Didn’t Pass. Here’s Why We’re Still Winning.

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Yesterday, five weeks after the November election, campaigners for Oregon’s Measure 92—one of the nation’s most closely watched efforts to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods—officially conceded defeat.

Last month, the measure trailed by less than 2,000 votes, triggering an automatic recount. The recount revealed that the measure had been defeated by a mere 837 votes, making it among the closest statewide elections in Oregon’s history. Though the measure failed, along with similar efforts in California, Colorado, and Washington over the past two years, the narrow margin in Oregon makes me more sure than ever that we will see mandatory labeling soon. Read More

Market Match: Making California’s Farmers’ Markets Accessible

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When Allison Miller lost her job as a server at a restaurant that closed last summer, she wasn’t sure how she would make ends meet while living in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the country.

Surviving on unemployment benefits, she was able to qualify for CalFresh, funded through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), AKA food stamps. Although she had limited resources, she wanted to continue to buy her produce at the farmers’ market, where she had developed strong ties with local farmers. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Whole Grains Get the Axe, ‘Super Bugs’ Price Tag, and Sam Kass Says Goodbye

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Rain or shine, we’re serving up the week’s food news. Here’s what caught our attention:

1. The World’s Most Powerful Chef Hangs up His Apron (Politico)

As White House Chef Sam Kass prepares to retire, the Obamas aren’t just losing a chef, “the Obama administration is set to lose its behind-the-scenes food policy general,” writes Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich. Kass, who has been instrumental in preventing the GOP from completely degrading recent school lunch improvements (see below), is relocating to New York City just one year before school lunch reauthorization is set to take place. “Food and agriculture insiders are anxious to see where Kass goes next—he’s expected to stay engaged as he works on nutrition issues from the private sector—but they are even more curious to know who will replace him,” writes Evich. Read More

Seasons Greening: How Christmas Tree Farmers Are Cutting Down on Pesticides

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Each winter, tens of millions of Americans buy and decorate Christmas trees. Yet few of us think about what it takes to keep these trees looking so healthy and lush.

For most growers, it takes pesticides–and lots of them. It turns out that the majority of Christmas tree farms are plagued with destructive pests and noxious weeds that suck nutrients and moisture from the soil, leaving young trees sickly and ugly. As a result, the Christmas tree industry has become dependent on chemicals of all sorts. Read More

Organic Nearly as Productive as Industrial Farming, New Study Says

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Industrial agriculture has huge, unsustainable impacts on our environment. And while organic and other ecologically based farming systems (agroecology) have huge benefits, some have suggested that it will never produce enough food. Production is only one of the challenges for food security. But, according to new research, even by this measure, critics seem to have substantially underestimated the productivity of organic farming. Read More